In the gay calendar, June is lovingly referred to as Pride month. In theory, this is a time for people across the gay population to come together, and unite in a common cause: the freedom to openly be gay – a freedom we were only granted fifty years ago, and a freedom that is startlingly absent from countries around the world.
Yet, the reality is something quite different.
Philadelphia City have decided that the Pride flag (that’s the symbol used to symbolise inclusion within the LGBT population) is simply not inclusive enough. To rectify this, they added a brown and black stripe to the existing rainbow flag to remind people that they shouldn’t be racist (because it logically follows that a racist gay person will see that, and immediately see the error of their ways).
Let us leave aside the pros and cons of such a change: it is not the purpose of this article, and certainly not the purpose of this writer, to get into petty arguments over the colour of a flag. Let us look instead to Teen Vogue’s response to this. They published the headline ‘Philadelphia Pride Flag Opposition Is A Sign Of Racism In The LGBTQ Community’. Because why on earth would anybody make an argument from logic about why the change should have been introduced, when they can just declare their intellectual opponents to be racist?
Not one to be outdone, The Huffington Post published a piece entitled ‘An Open Letter To Gay, White Men: No, You’re Not Allowed To Have A Racial Preference’. Trott assures his reader that ‘I’m not calling all of you racist’ before telling them that, if black and Asian men choose to only date black and Asian men, they are not racist. However, ‘if your preference for a partner supports an existing racial hierarchy which marginalizes minorities [meaning, if you’re a white person who dates white people], then your preferences are racist’. Impeccable logic if you’re not a fan of intellectual honesty.
These are only two examples of the way that the gay population is tearing itself apart. It is turning on itself because of petty issues that ultimately boil down to a question of semantics.
LGTB people did not get their rights because they argued about who was racist, and whether they should be known as LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQIA (and so on, apparently.) Quentin was out and shameless, publishing books about his experience as a gay man, and not flinching from the abuse that the world threw at him. How difficult it would have been to face this head-on if the abuse was coming from fellow gay people, each competing to be the ‘best’ type of homosexual.
Forgetting that our gay brothers and sisters are being slaughtered across the globe, and put into specially designated camps in Chechnya, and having a change of sex imposed on us, gay people are looking shambolic. As the drag legend Lady Bunny wrote in an immense Facebook post: ‘If we took the angry and vitriol we reserved to pounce on one flag variation in one city and turned it on those who seek to destroy our rights, we’d be running the world tomorrow.’
It is absolutely right that we should be angry but, please, do not be angry at each other. We owe that to the people who don’t have the luxury of arguing about the colour of a flag.